How To Implement A Contract Management System And Win As A Team
When things go wrong, you can almost always look to communication. Of some sort. Either there has been a miscommunication, or a lack of communication and the result isn’t what you had expected. The more I speak with clients about use/adoption of their existing CLM tools, the more I hear “This tool is not working for me!” We find, very often, that it is not the tool that is the problem. It is the implementation.
I cannot help but wonder: Considering the investment in technology—and to get it up and running— how are so many implementations going wrong? How can we help provide a better view of ROI on an effective implementation without blowing the budget?
If you choose the correct tool, you are more than halfway there. This is obviously the most important first step, but it can be quickly negated with an improper approach to the implementation.
In my mind, it is simple: You do not boil the ocean, you raise the temperature one degree at a time. What does that mean? You start paying for licenses pretty early on, so you need to get the tool in the users’ hands and start receiving some return on that investment quickly. A step-by-step approach to digital contract transformation is your key to success. By selecting a tool that you can grow into, you can gradually increase features and functionality as users begin to see the value—what it can do to make their lives easier. They become champions of the tool, help you make it better and get other users on board.
That’s if you select the correct tool for your use case. But do you know how to do that? Most people who work in corporate Legal departments, Procurement or IT don’t and that isn’t a criticism —it isn’t their job to understand it fully. Let’s dig into that…
Steps For How To Implement A Contract Management System
First things first: You need a partner. A person or group of people who understand how CLM works. Not the tool, the overall process. From end-to-end.
The last thing you want to do is “lift and shift” your current processes into new technology. This is why I have had a job over the past however many years, because there is a lack of fundamental understanding of how to implement new technology the correct way.
This partner can be someone within your organization or a third party, but they need to meet three criteria:
- Experience with a number of different tools
- An understanding of how to document and optimize processes
- Knowledge of legal, technology and business processes
The first criterion is the most important because you need to understand the difference between configuration and customization. You want to limit customizations, if you can, to support a reduced change-management effort. If you have a partner who knows what CLM tools can do and how they are applied in various industries for various business purposes, they can guide you to use the functionality inherent in the application creatively. This equals limited customizations, which can be costly and a tax on IT.
People who have experience with multiple implementations across verticals, geographies and workstreams have had to get creative a time or two. We automatically go back to where we have seen the requirement before and how it worked best. Most importantly, we look to where it didn’t go so well.
The second criterion is your foundation: You must document your existing business processes, optimize them and document what that future state looks like. How will users be using the tool, what is their happy path? How does this bring value to their everyday work life? Taking the technology out of consideration during this process gives you a view of how people work and how they need help from technology to streamline it. You then configure the technology to support it.
Checking Your Foundation
The last point ties it all together. I wrote a blog a little while back about how playing an effective “translator” during the implementation process means you must focus on legal, business and IT requirements. If you do not understand each of those specific groups, their vernacular and what is important/risky to them, then how can you ensure success for them? You must build a foundation on which to grow—and if that foundation isn’t solid, your implementation will crumble around it.
Tying all three of those things together into one statement really sums up how you either get yourself out of an unstable implementation or ensure that you never get there in the first place: The process must drive the technology. Selecting a partner that meets all three of the criteria above gives you the best opportunity for success and realizing a return on that investment—quickly and on an ongoing basis.
Choosing The Best Software For CLM Implementation
Low-code tools like the Sirion CLM platform allow you to define what works for you at the time and adjust “on the fly” by yourself. Sirion offers a significant amount of configurability, making it easier to change functions built to support updated (and ever-changing) business processes.
Considering its AI-suggested clauses as well as the configurability of its contract-generation wizard and dashboards, Sirion gets you halfway there quickly because you can deploy an organic and phased approach to enhancements without the need for IT. No more sprint cycles or IT change calendars. You control the change—which means you control your success.
To learn more about driving your enterprise’s digital transformation with the AI-powered Sirion CLM platform, click here. To learn more about how SYKE helps legal teams evaluate, select and procure legal technology, click here.
Guest blogger: Trayce Marcelle, Head of US ‑ Legal Operations and Technology Consulting, LOD – SYKE